Unit 7 : Manned or Unmanned? : Round Trip or Not? : How Long? : Landing on Mars? : Plan a Mission

Unit 7: Mission to Mars

In this unit you will consider some of the choices that NASA makes in planning a mission to Mars. At the end of the unit, you will select a goal and then pull together everything you have learned to plan a mission to Mars that could possibly accomplish that goal.

Before you can make sensible choices about the length of the mission and other details, you need to first decide on the purpose of the mission and then, whether or not it should be a human mission to Mars. The purpose of the human or robotic expedition may be preparation for humans to arrive, the quest for life on Mars, other scientific research about Mars, or establishing a colony on Mars.

Once you are clear about the purpose of your mission, it may be obvious whether or not people need to be included (subunit "Manned or Unmanned?"). The purpose may also dictate whether the trip should be one-way or round-trip (subunit "Round Trip or Not?"). Once you’ve decided on a purpose, you can consider whether the mission needs to be a “fast” trip or can be a cheaper, “slow” trip (subunit "How Long?"). Finally, you can consider whether to land on Mars or to stay in orbit (subunit "Landing on Mars?"). Finally, bring it all together in subunit "Plan a Mission", and you are on your way to the Red Planet!